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Retro has never been so trendy, so why not take the plunge?

Permanent tsb Ideal Home Show a chance to run the rule over home energy upgrade scheme

For anyone interested in the Government’s National Retrofit Plan, the new home energy upgrade scheme, or simply tired of doing battle with rising fuel prices, the permanent tsb Ideal Home Show is the ideal solution.

The spring edition takes place from Friday, April 1st to Sunday April 3rd, at Dublin’s RDS.

Organisers have kept it bang on trend, with teams of experts on hand to provide advice about all aspects of energy efficiency, renovation and decoration.

Visitors can walk through the V2 Living Showhouse, designed by Arlene McIntyre's Ventura Design, as well as a series of interiors set ups, to get a flavour of the colours, soft furnishings and furniture trends coming to a home near you; your own if you're lucky.

Social media influencer Lorraine Keane hosts a line-up of expert speakers at the DFS Interiors Theatre, as part of the Home Interiors Fair. Also present will be architect and interior designer Róisín Murphy from RTÉ's Home Rescue, plus Patricia Power, the closest thing we have to a celebrity quantity surveyor, thanks to her work on Room to Improve.

DFS is also providing an Interiors Inspiration Centre featuring four influential creatives from the world of interiors – Susan McGowan of Ashen and Cloud, influencer Joanne Mooney, holistic sleep expert Anne Marie Boyhan and project manager, interior designer and finalist in RTÉ's Home of the Year David O'Brien. Each room features a sneak preview of Dulux Heritage, the new premium paint brand which launches in Ireland this spring.

Regardless of the walls, the colour on everyone’s mind at the show this year is green. “There will be a huge focus on going green, particularly in relation to retrofits,” says show organiser Catriona O’Connor.

That extends right out to driveways. Spring sees the return of the successful Drive Electric Expo, where experts will be on hand to advise on electric and hybrid vehicle ranges, as well as to talk through electric vehicle grants and how they work. "We started this element of the show four years ago with just one car brand. This year we will have four: Volkswagen, Cupra, Hyundai and Skoda, plus an electric scooter range," she says.

Interest in retrofits is set to surge, driven not just by rising fuel prices but growing acceptance of the need to cut carbon outputs. “The focus has been huge since the Government launched the National Retrofit Scheme. It provides increased grant levels of up to 50 per cent of the cost of a typical deep retrofit,” she says. For smaller jobs, such as insulation, grants of up to 80 per cent are available.

Staff from the SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland), which manages the grants, will explain exactly what kind of assistance is possible and how to access it. They’ll also explain the differences between various types of green energy, from solar panels to heat pumps, and host two talks a day around the themes of “more comfortable homes” and “lower energy bills”.

From there, make a beeline to the Mitsubishi Electric Home Advice Theatre to find out about the latest developments in heat pumps, now seeing a surge in popularity. Mitsubishi Electric is extending its range at show to suit with two new products that work with its Ecodan range of heat pumps. These are a residential ventilation system and an air purifier, both of which will be on display.

Still on the hot topic of home heating, Energia’s cosy homes scheme will be on hand to talk about the full range of home energy upgrades. “They will have consultants to talk about grants, as well as installers on site, so it really is a one-stop shop,” she says.

If you’ve any questions left after all that, the popular Ask an Expert section allows visitors to book one on one consultations with a range of experts including architects, surveyors and garden designers.

And while the pandemic may have moved on, the show also reflects the fact that not all workers are keen to move with it.

"One of the biggest trends we are seeing right now is continued interest in working from home, which is why will have a number of exhibitors at the show, including Fern Lane and Quick Homes, showcasing home offices as well as home office furniture," says O'Connor.

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell

Sandra O'Connell is a contributor to The Irish Times

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